Posts tagged with "Daily Beast"

Passing the buck: Trump says ‘I won’t be here’ when debt crisis blows up

December 7, 2018

Payback is a “bitch.” But Donald Trump is not worried about the $21 trillion national debt—up from $19.9 trillion on January 20, 2017—that the nation now owes, according to a December 5 report by the Daily Beast.

Sources close to the president say he has repeatedly shrugged it off—implying that he doesn’t have to worry about the money owed to America’s creditors, because he won’t be around to shoulder the blame when it becomes a crippling issue.

The friction came to a head in early 2017 when senior administration officials offered Trump charts and graphics laying out the numbers showing a spike in the national debt in the not-too-distant future, the online news outlet said.

“Yeah, but I won’t be here,” the president bluntly responded, according to a source who was in the room when Trump made the comment.

For those who have worked with Trump, the Daily Beast says, it was no surprise. Several people close to the president, both within and outside his administration, confirmed that the national debt has never bothered him in a truly meaningful way, despite his public lip service. “I never once heard him talk about the debt,” one former senior White House official attested.

What’s more, in Trump’s view, cutbacks aren’t even necessary. Instead he is focused on economic growth: Indeed, one current senior Trump administration official vented to the news outlet that Trump “doesn’t really care” about actually attacking the debt “crisis,” and prefers simply “jobs and growth, whatever that means.”

Rather than placing blame, Hogan Gidley, a White House spokesperson, passed the buck to the legislative branch. “While the president has and will continue to do everything in his power to rein in Washington’s out-of-control spending,” he said in an interview, “the Constitution gives Congress the power of the purse and it’s time for them to work with this president to reduce the debt.”

For the most part, the Daily Beast reports, the Republican Party has gone along—noting, “ Over the first two years of the Trump administration, congressional Republicans have slashed taxes dramatically while increasing defense and discretionary spending; all without giving much indication that they’re going to take a stab at dramatically gutting certain popular entitlements.”

In the end, right-leaning reformers shouldn’t stake their reputations on decreased spending. After all there is still a wall to build—and that will cost billions. A former Trump official added, “It’s not like it’s going to haunt him.”

Research contact: @swin24

1,000+ Americans already have downloaded Defense Distributed’s 3-D printing plans for assault rifles

August 1, 2018

For several years, students and enthusiasts have been using three-dimensional (3-D) printing to create prosthetics for people and animals in need, to build houses, and to produce other types of useful equipment (from bottle openers to coin sorters). Now, 3-D printing suddenly has become more immeasurably more dangerous: In fact, more than 1,000 people nationwide already have downloaded plans to print an AR-15-style semiautomatic assault rifle in three dimensions ahead of a change in the federal law on August 1.

In a court settlement on June 29, the Daily Beast reported, the U.S. government agreed that Americans will be able to legally download plans for 3-D printed guns—nicknamed “Ghost Guns” because they don’t have serial numbers and are untraceable by authorities.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, who has been fighting to keep 3-D printed guns out of his state, revealed that plans already are gaining popularity online ahead of the law change. The Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office asked a judge for a restraining order that would block a website run by gun-rights group Defense Distributed, which holds downloadable plans for the guns, from being accessible in his state.

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson also announced on July 30 that he is leading a lawsuit brought by eight states and the District of Columbia to block the legalization of downloadable 3-D gun plans.

In addition, according to a report by The Washington Post, 21 state attorneys general have sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo expressing their concern: “As the Chief Law Enforcement Officers of our states, we believe the settlement terms and proposed rules are deeply dangerous and could have an unprecedented impact on public safety. In addition to helping arm terrorists and transnational criminals, the settlement and proposed rules would provide another path to gun ownership for people who are prohibited by federal and state law from possessing firearms. Federal courts have recognized the danger of allowing these guns to be publicly available on the Internet, and this Administration has abruptly disregarded those rulings. We urge you to withdraw from the settlement and withdraw the proposed rules immediately, and allow full and fair consideration of any future proposed rules on these issues.”

They further noted: “As a result of the Department of State’s settlement with Defense Distributed, terrorists, criminals, and individuals seeking to do harm would have unfettered access to print and manufacture dangerous firearms. Some of these weapons may even be undetectable by magnetometers in places like airports and government buildings and untraceable by law enforcement. Illegal trafficking of these guns across state and national borders could also increase, and self-made, unregistered, and untraceable firearms could easily wind up in the hands of (or simply be produced directly by) dangerous individuals.”

President Donald Trump expressed his concern about 3-D guns Tuesday morning, tweeting: “I am looking into 3-D Plastic Guns being sold to the public. Already spoke to NRA, doesn’t seem to make much sense!”

Finally, in a March poll, nearly two-thirds of American adults under 30 who plan to vote in the midterm elections said that they believe gun-control laws should be stricter—a reflection of growing support for such actions among younger Americans. The poll by Harvard University’s Institute of Politics, conducted following the school shooting in Parkland, Florida., established that 64% of 18- to 29-year-olds favor stricter gun-control laws, regardless of whether they plan to vote in November.

For several years, the opinions of young Democrats, Republicans and independents have been steadily shifting toward greater support for gun-control measures,” said John Della Volpe, the institute’s polling director. “The difference today is that the Parkland students have created an environment where the lack of progress on reducing gun violence is now symbolic of all the ills plaguing Washington, D.C.”

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Trump whacks Germany’s Merkel and U.S. Democrats, while defending his own immigration stance

June 19, 2018

Fully 56% of the 1,000 U.S. adults polled by Ipsos on behalf of The Daily Beast this week say that it is not “appropriate” to separate children from their parents at the border—and yet President Donald Trump continues to blame his administration’s zero-tolerance policy incorrectly on the Democrats and to assert that Germany’s more open immigration program has led to a rise in crime.

On June 18, the POTUS tweeted, “The people of Germany are turning against their leadership as migration is rocking the already tenuous Berlin coalition. Crime in Germany is way up.”

Several minutes later, Trump added, “Big mistake made all over Europe in allowing millions of people in who have so strongly and violently changed their culture! We don’t want what is happening with immigration in Europe to happen with us!”

However, according to a report by USA Today, in May, Germany’s Federal Ministry of the Interior actually rebutted the claims that Trump currently is making—noting that the total number of crimes committed in the country in 2017 had fallen 5.1% from the previous year.

Case closed? Far from it: Just weeks later, Interior Minister Horst Seehoffer has turned on German Chancellor Angela Merkel, threatening her leadership.

Although he refuted the crime statistics, Seehoffer has created a so-called “migration masterplan” in the interim, according to the UK news outlet, The Daily Mail. Under his proposal, the German border police would be given the right to turn back all asylum-seekers without identity papers and those who are already registered elsewhere in the European Union.

Merkel rejects the idea, believing that it would be perceived by the rest of her allies in the European Union as a “Germany First” decision—and that it would further burden such front-line Mediterranean countries as Italy and Greece.

On the other side of the pond, U.S. immigration rights advocates—most of them, Democrats—support Merkel and are fighting Trump’s hard-line “America First” stance.

With more than 2,000 children already torn from their parents’ arms, a contingent of Democratic legislators insisted on inspecting a facility in McAllen, Texas, where the youngsters were being held this week.

Representative Chris Van Hollen (D-Maryland), who was part of that group, released a tweet on June 17: “Just left Border Patrol Processing Center in McAllen—aka ‘the dog kennel.’ Witnessed loads of kids massed together in large pens of chain-linked fence …. @realDonald Trump, change you shameful policy today! #FamiliesBelongTogether

And even a few Republicans are pushing back. Representative Susan Collins (R-Maine) commented during an appearance on CBS-TV’s Face the Nation on Sunday that, “What the administration has decided to do is to separate children from their parents to try to send a message that, if you cross the border with children, your children are going to be ripped away from you. That’s traumatizing to the children, who are innocent victims and it is contrary to our values in this country.”

Former First Lady Laura Bush wrote an opinion piece for The Washington Post, also on Sunday, in which she said, “I live in a border state. I appreciate the need to enforce and protect our international boundaries, but this zero-tolerance policy is cruel. It is immoral. And It breaks my heart.”

House Speaker Paul Ryan—who rarely says a word against the administration’s policies—admitted, “We don’t want kids to be separated from their parents,” when asked by a pool of reporters, but blamed the situation on “a court ruling,” according to Time magazine.

Will the Trump administration budge? Not if you listen to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who has shown little pity for the plight of the children. He spoke in support of the zero-tolerance policy earlier this month: “If people don’t want to be separated from their children, they should not bring them with them.”

Research contact: gideon.resnick@thedailybeast